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TXT. Adam Hamilton Sermon Notes – (Free PDF Download) – 2021

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Sermon Notes
thanks for checking out the weekly

sermon from church of the resurrection

i pray that god will use this message to

speak to you and help you grow in your

faith journey

if you’re in the casey area i’d like to

invite you to join us next week

at one of our services or join us in

live worship online

at core.org worship church of the

resurrection

is one church in multiple locations to

learn more about the service times in

our ministries please visit core.org

hope you enjoy this week’s message i’m

daryl burton one of the pastors here

at church of the resurrection as we

continue in worship

i invite you to join me as we read

paul’s letters

to the thessalonians from paul salvenius

and timothy

to the thessalonian church that is in

god the father

and the lord jesus christ grace and

peace to all of you

we always thank god for all of you when

we mention you

constantly in our prayers this is

because we remember your work

that comes from your faith your effort

that comes from love

and your perseverance that comes from

hope in our lord jesus christ

in the presence of our god and father

brothers and sisters you are loved by

god and we know that he has chosen you

we know this because our good news

didn’t come to you just in speech

but also in power and the holy spirit

and with

deep conviction you know as well as we

do

what kind of people we were when we were

with you

which was for your sake you became

imitators of us

and of our lord when you accepted the

message that came from the holy spirit

with joy

in spite of great suffering as a result

you became an example to all believers

in macedonia

and archaea may god had a blessing to

the reading hearing and understanding of

scriptures

scripture calls us to be light

in the darkness

to let our light shine

in the first words written in our new

testament

paul called a small group of new

christians

to be children of the light

two thousand years later the first

letter to the thessalonians

still offers powerful guidance for us

today

as we live as people of the light

lavon and i had the same washer and

dryer for over 30 years we bought our

very first washing machine

32 years ago i think it was we bought it

uh from montgomery wards it was about

the cheapest one you could buy

and uh and it’s worked well for us for

32 years i find that amazing

and then when we bought our first house

there was a dryer that was left by the

previous owners

and so we have a dryer that’s about the

same age about 32 years old

and it’s worked well all of these years

but but this last year lavon said do you

think we could get a new washer and

dryer i mean

you know they’re starting to make a

little bit of noise and i just think we

could you know have something more

energy efficient a little quieter and so

so i began the research i love to

research stuff like this so i read

consumer reports i’m reading all of the

articles i could find online about you

know which is the best washing machine

and dryer you got to decide is it front

loading or top loading and i decided

well

top loading saddle you know it’s not

like what we needed and then we began

looking at

stainless steel or is it white or black

or some other color and we said well

let’s just get white it’s a little

cheaper and

and you know nobody’s gonna really see

it and and then we began to look at we

want

energy efficiency highly efficient and

we went quiet so i looked at all this i

began reading all the reviews from all

the major retailers across the country

and i began to settle in on a couple of

different washers and dryers and as i

did part of what i discovered

was really discouraging is that there

are no perfect washers and dryers

i found that that no matter how many

good reviews there were there was always

somebody said i thought this was a dud

or i didn’t think it cleaned my clothes

very well or you know this

i didn’t it didn’t work for me and my

needs and so after a while i thought

well where are you going to find the

perfect washer and dryer and so finally

this is what i bought us take a look

okay i didn’t really buy that for us but

you know if you want the perfect washer

and dryer that’s what you need

it’s the one that you’re going to do

yourself the old-fashioned way because

nothing else is going to be as quiet

energy efficient or perfect as that

if you’re a perfectionist and and that’s

going to point towards

the theme of our sermon today and that

is there are no perfect washers and

dryers

and there are no perfect people and so

we’re going to talk a little more about

that but before we do

i want to introduce our theme for the

next four weeks we’re going to be

studying

paul’s first letter to the thessalonians

this is the earliest

letter that paul writes most scholars

believe it’s the earliest letter that

paul writes

and paul’s letters are the earliest

documents of the new testament

so the gospels are written uh first

thessalonians written about 80

50 20 years after jesus death and

resurrection paul is writing this letter

he’s written letters before this it’s

just nobody saved them they weren’t kept

so

this letter was the first one that was

kept and so ad50

mark’s gospel which we just studied a

few weeks ago was written about a.d

70 20 years later the first gospel is

written and then luke’s gospel matthew’s

gospel john’s gospel written after that

so of all of the books we have in the

new testament likely

the earliest document we have is this

letter we’re going to study

right now for the next four weeks first

thessalonians i’d like to invite you if

you have a bible handy

go grab it we’re going to walk through

first thessalonians chapters 1 and 2.

and i think you’re going to find this

fascinating get a pen and paper so you

can take some notes

so paul writes letters and as he writes

these letters he has important things to

say

to the people in the you know the first

century christians

and i just remind you everything in the

new testament aside from matthew mark

luke and john in the book of acts

everything else is a letter so even the

book of revelation was a letter written

to churches in modern day turkey what

was then asia minor

and so these letters are very very

important to our faith

now i want to remind you too that you

know how they came to us so paul wrote

letters on papyrus and i want you to see

what these look like this is a

document from the year 200 and 175 to

200 225

and this is a part of a larger document

that contained a variety of text from

the new testament

it’s called p46 and here you see this is

uh the

one page from paul’s letter to the

philippians and uh

and so this is what the letter would

have looked like although it would have

been you know not

tattered when it came to the philippians

uh when it came to the thessalonians

first thessalonians is the equivalent of

two eight and a half by eleven type

sheets of paper in terms of the length

of a letter it’s not very long you could

read it

in about 10 or 15 minutes we’re gonna

take a little more time with it than

that

i want you to know just a little bit

about the context where it comes from so

so if you uh if you take a look at the

map this is the mediterranean

and you’ll recognize of course the holy

land is over here

and you recognize spain is over here and

this is italy right over here you see

the boot of italy

well paul starts off on his second

missionary journey from antioch over

here

uh syrian antioch and he makes his

journey

uh over here near this area this is uh

southern galatia

makes his way over to ephesus travels to

the north makes his way over here

ultimately to philippi and then to

thessaloniki or thessalonica i’ll just

take

a little closer look so this is the

journey he’s making and you know i’m not

capturing it exact but you know

basically this direction he hops on a

ship he ends up over here

and he makes his way to philippi now

there’s an ancient roadway that

that captured that took the traffic the

main traffic that crossed here actually

came down a little to the south it was

called the via ignatia

and thessaloniki or thessalonica was on

the via ignatia the main highway

so uh i want us to see this is where

this letter is being sent is to

thessalonica

it is uh it is a church community that

was built at a harbor or a port

that was one of the safest large ports

in the mediterranean it was

on the northeast portion excuse me the

northwest portion of the aegean sea

all right so if you were to visit there

and i have visited there i took some of

you there a number of years ago you have

a chance to see there’s not a lot of

roman ruins to see because the modern

city was built on top

of those ancient ruins so you’d have to

tear things up in order to get down to

the ruins but there are a few things

here’s a little of what you’d see if you

were visiting modern day thessalonica so

this is the

um this is the ancient forum where the

shops were you can see those areas there

were shops in the first century

uh this you have a chance to see the

stadium where uh where people would run

or races would take place and uh and and

large gatherings would happen

in the city all right so if you read

luke chapter or acts chapter 17 and i

hope if you have a bible you’ll actually

open there to acts chapter 17.

we’ll read this and i’m going to skip

through a little bit of acts chapter 17

verses one through nine

paul and silas came to thessalonica

where there was a

jewish synagogue as was paul’s custom he

entered the synagogue and for three

sabbaths

interacted with them on the basis of the

scriptures through his interpretation of

the scriptures he demonstrated that

christ that the christ had to suffer

and rise from the dead he declared this

jesus who i am proclaiming to you

is the christ some were convinced and

joined paul and silas

including a large number of greek god

worshippers and quite a few

prominent women so there were greeks who

who and romans who would come to the

synagogues they weren’t circumcised they

hadn’t converted to judaism

but they were drawn to the to the

message of the hebrew bible the old

testament they were drawn to god

and some of these people began to be

drawn to the fact that

paul had proclaimed the long awaited

jewish messiah had come his name was

jesus he was the king that god had

promised

of old so what they heard about jesus

they were drawn to this they were the

greek

they were often called god fears god

worshipers and there were prominent

women

who were drawn to hear more of what

jesus or what paul had to say about

jesus

so these are the people that paul is

writing his letter to all right so we

have a chance to see how the church was

formed it started

paul preaching the synagogue and then

eventually he was sort of driven out of

the synagogue so

luke doesn’t tell us how long he stayed

in thessalonica makes it sound like he

was only there three weeks

most people read this and think and read

the epistle and think he was there

probably for three or four months in any

case acts goes on to tell us that soon

the leadership of the synagogue turned

against paul

so they didn’t they didn’t accept that

jesus was the messiah

and they were a little frustrated and

maybe a little threatened and jealous

because there were many people who were

being drawn to paul’s preaching

and that didn’t feel so good if you were

the leader of the synagogue so this is

what we read next

they brought along some thugs who were

hanging out in the marketplace you just

saw the marketplace a moment ago in that

video

they formed a mob and started a riot in

the city they attacked

jason’s house jason we don’t know of him

anywhere else in the new testament but

we know he

he had a house and and paul and silas

must have been staying there in this

house and the early christians were

meeting there in this house

they attacked jason’s house intending to

bring paul and silas before the people

when they didn’t find them they dragged

jason and some believers before the city

officials

they were shouting these people who have

been disturbing the peace

throughout the empire have also come

here what is more

jason has welcomed them into his home

every one of them does what is contrary

to caesar’s decrees

by naming someone else’s king namely

jesus

so you hear what they’re saying about uh

about these christians they’re saying

there’s another king besides caesar

so this it goes on to say this provoked

the crowd

and the city and the city officials even

more after jason and the others posted

bail they released them as soon as it

was dark

the brothers and sisters sent paul and

silas on to berea

when they arrived they went to the

jewish synagogue as paul usually did the

jews from thessalonica learned that paul

was

proclaiming god’s word in berea so they

went there too and were upsetting and

disturbing the crowds

the brothers and sisters sent paul away

to the seacoast

all right so you get a sense of what’s

going on this is what happens everywhere

paul goes he creates

problems everywhere there are people who

get threatened or upset or people who

disagree with him or

think that he’s teaching something false

and then they round you know rouse up

the crowds or sometimes it’s the it’s

the

gentiles the pagans who are upset by

what he’s done and so he ends up often

he’s thrown in jail he’s beaten and left

for dead i mean again and again and

again

wherever he goes almost wherever he goes

he finds this is the result

and yet there are a handful of people a

small group of people who are drawn to

what he says and come to believe that

jesus is the messiah and he forms him

into a little church

and then he goes on to another community

so again if we look at our map

we’re going to see that paul leaves

thessalonica and he travels to berea

which is somewhere in this vicinity over

here

then he makes his way after the

thessalonians come the jewish leadership

comes and they

chase him out of berea he’s sent by ship

goes to the coast again sent by ship and

he makes his way down

uh actually i think he comes down

through this way and makes his way down

to athens

over here and and then eventually he’s

going to make his way to corinth and

he’s going to spend 18 months

in corinth then while he’s in corinth

he’s going to write the letter that we

have as

first thessalonians so what happens is

paul

sends timothy to go be with the

thessalonians after he leaves he says i

need you to help these folks i need you

i’m worried about them i’m worried about

whether they’re going to be able to

maintain their faith i’ve only been with

them for a couple of months

and they’re people harassing them and

opposing them and criticizing them and

criticizing me would you go back and

and help them timothy so timothy goes

back to thessalonica

and he encourages and cares for them and

then he brings a report back to paul

down in corinth and says

it’s amazing paul they believe

they continue to believe they have

courage and faith and other people are

being drawn

to jesus through their ministry and

they’re doing wonderful things they’re

actually living out the gospel there

despite the criticism that they’ve

received and so as a result of that

report

paul writes this short letter to the

thessalonians we know of his first

thessalonians it is a short letter

it’s really only if you printed it off

on eight and a half by eleven pieces of

paper in

11 point or ten point times it’d be two

pages it’s pretty short

and the letter starts with words of

encouragement

words of encouragement and gratitude

because the thessalonians listen

they refuse to give up in the face of

criticism

i want you to hear that because that’s

really the dominant message of chapters

one and two of first thessalonians we’re

going to combine these two chapters

together

and i want you to hear what paul is

saying to them it is a word of

encouragement

and affirmation and and praise and love

uh just a

just a pastoral care kind of message to

these uh these early christians because

they didn’t give up on their faith in

the fate of opposition in the face of

opposition

or uh or criticism or harassment

they continue to remain faithful the

word faithful is a really important word

in in first thessalonians it appears six

times and there are actually variations

of it that appear

beyond that and the word means

trustworthy someone that that you could

count on someone who is

full of faith someone who actually

trusted despite the adversity

and paul’s gonna praise them for this

and here when we’re looking at paul’s

letters and we’re asking how do these

letters speak to us

we’re asking what did he say to them and

what was going on in that church and

then how does that relate to us

and i think in this letter in chapters

one and two we’re going to hear the call

to be faithful and we’re going to hear

the call to persevere

even in the face of opposition criticism

harassment

all right so i don’t want you to miss

that they refuse to give up

now first thessalonians chapter one

begins with then with this expression of

gratitude from paul i mean he’s just

he is so excited and so grateful that

they’ve maintained their faith in the

face of opposition

and this is what he writes hear these

words again we always thank god for all

of you when we mention you constantly in

our prayers

this is because we remember your work

that comes from faith

your effort that comes through love or

from love

and your perseverance that comes from

hope

hope in our lord jesus christ in the

presence of our god and father

so we remember the work that you’re

doing in your city we’ve heard from

timothy what you’re doing we’re so proud

of the work that you’re doing

and we remember the effort that you’ve

been put been putting forth as followers

of jesus to live out the kingdom and his

message

and we’re so thankful for your

perseverance that you didn’t give up

in the face of hardship now way to take

a look at the next uh the next line

uh this is again uh first thessalonians

chapter one brothers and sisters

i love this brothers and sisters you are

loved by god

and we know that he has chosen you you

became imitators of us

and of the lord when you accepted the

message that came from the holy spirit

with joy in spite of great suffering

all right so you hear this theme again

like he’s so grateful that they became

imitators of paul despite the fact that

they were suffering but despite the fact

that people wanted to arrest them or put

them in jail

and then he says as a result you became

an example to all the believers

in macedonia and acaia macedonia decay

that’s basically modern-day greece

and he says all of the believers you

know everybody that have already led to

faith people here in corinth who who are

hearing about you and

people in berea and people in athens and

and and people in philippi

they’ve all heard about you and what had

they heard they had heard that the

philip

or the thessalonians refused to give up

despite the adversity and the opposition

and the harassment that they faced that

was what was remarkable

look at their faithfulness even when

it’s hard i mean paul lived that he had

he’d experienced he had been beaten and

abused and

left for dead many times but but to find

others who imitated him in that

i mean that was remarkable and so he’s

praising them for this

now i love paul’s words here assuring

them you are loved by god

right and so we read those kind of words

we think you know paul could say that to

us too you are loved by god

you were loved by god and i want you to

notice he says you were chosen

by god god chose you to be a part of

this family the very fact that you know

you were those who said yes to the

calling god must have called you

like you responded and so in all of

these things we again hear

god’s word to us as well you were loved

by god and you were chosen by god

because you responded and when you

responded you became a part of his

chosen people

and the virtue that they had was their

perseverance

and their persistence in imitating paul

and in doing the work of the gospel in

their community

despite adversity criticism opposition

turn to first thessalonians chapter two

now uh beginning with verse three

because here we’re gonna find in chapter

two paul begins to defend himself

and and so it’s clear when you read paul

defending himself it’s

you know one of the interesting things

things to do it’s a little detective

work

is to say well based on what he says

what must be the word of his critics

right so he’s defending something that

points to what somebody else was saying

about him so let’s just see if we can

figure out

what his critics were saying about him

because you see they came into town

or you know those people who lived in

that town they they were determined to

say

that the man who you heard this gospel

from uh he’s no good

he’s just no good so let’s just see what

they said about him paul says our appeal

does not spring from deceit

or impure motives or trickery so if he

has to say that then it must be that

people were saying that paul

you know paul’s message came from in his

attempt to deceive people

and that he had bad motives and he was

tricking people

right so paul says i’m not doing that

look at verse five

we never came with words of flattery or

with a pretext for greed

nor did we speak uh seek praise from

mortals whether from you or from other

people so what are they saying well

paul’s just doing this because he’s

greedy he just wants your money all paul

cares about you know and look he just

wants to

have you you know have you be impressed

by him and he says look i didn’t do

anything to flatter you i didn’t try to

impress you in any way

and i certainly didn’t try to you know

take your money

i didn’t do that and then he goes on to

say

we preached god’s good news to you while

we worked night and day so we wouldn’t

be a burden to any of you

paul was a his training was to be a

rabbi but he also learned

in his hometown of tarsus the job that

he had was to make tents and so it’s

presupposed that he was making you know

he’d had the materials there to make

tents or other kinds of things that he

could sell

in the marketplace and so somehow you

know he’s working whatever his job is

he’s moonlighting so that he can

share the good news of jesus and teach

and preach as he was able

but he didn’t ask for any money from

anybody he’s doing all of this

on his own and and so he’s saying look

you know the people are saying we we

came to take advantage of you all we

care about his money we didn’t take any

of your money don’t forget that

now all of this the criticism and the

slander against paul

and perseverance of the thessalonian

christians in the face of harassment

opposition

uh criticism leads me to the primary

point i want to i want us to focus on

today

all right the the main point i want us

to take away from first thessalonians

chapters one and two

and that is that we are all unfairly

criticized at some point in our lives

right we all face harassment of one kind

or another maybe not for our faith for

some it is because of your faith

for some it’s because of the way you

lived out your faith or a stand that you

took based on your faith

but but regardless all of us have

moments where we are harassed or we are

picked on or we are teased or somebody

somebody uh uh you know impugns our

character somebody says that we had

motives that weren’t really our motives

uh somebody says things bad about us on

social media or somewhere else but may

not happen to you often

but it happens sometimes and when it

happens

it’s really discouraging when it happens

it can lead us to be

silent when we should be speaking up

because we don’t like the criticism it

doesn’t feel good to be criticized

none of us thinks it feels good to be

criticized so

so i want to begin by asking how do we

deal and really begin to wrap this up by

asking how do we deal with criticism

now when criticism come first of all not

all criticism is bad some criticism is

really good for us we need some

criticism

like unless we think we’re perfect and

none of us are perfect

and so we need constructive criticism

positive criticism we need feedback we

need to be able to take that and

and what happens is when people begin to

criticize or say something we need to

improve

we find our defenses go up so let’s just

recognize upfront that there are times

where we need criticism

and we need to figure out how can i

receive criticism in a way that allows

people to share it with me

and allows me to grow so

i want to grow i want to be a better

pastor

next year than i was last year i want to

preach better sermons next year than i

did last year

i want to be more the disciple jesus

wants me i want to be a better husband

i want to be a better father a better

grandpa to my to my granddaughter stella

i want to be you know in every way i

want to be growing but the only way

you’re growing is if you’re sometimes

getting feedback

that’s helping you see the places where

your growing edges are

so instead of seeing criticism as a bad

thing we often need to see it as a gift

right so even when somebody doesn’t know

how to share that criticism well

right so we talk about constructive

criticism a lot of people don’t know how

to share constructive criticism

and they share it in a way that’s

awkward and uncomfortable or sometimes

they say it in ways that are hurtful

but when i get criticism part of what i

try to do

i i won’t say i’m perfect at this but

part of what i try to do

is when i get those you know emails or

you know

snail mails or whatever is to say okay

god is there something i need to learn

from this

how can i grow from this what truth is

there in this help me to see the truth

because

if i could see it before i wouldn’t be

doing the thing that somebody’s

complaining about

so and same thing in the relationship

you know with lavon there are times

where she’ll you know she might be

frustrated or irritated and sometimes

the way she tells me something

doesn’t really help her make the case

right because i find my defenses go up

but then somewhere along the way i gotta

go okay wait a minute

my wife really loves me and clearly she

feels

that this is something that’s irritating

or frustrating or whatever else how can

i learn from that

and where do i need to grow as a result

of that and if you’re not receiving

criticism you’re probably not growing if

you’re not accepting

you know the fact that people might have

something to add to your life or help

you be better

then i would just say you’re a fool so

part of what we have to do is be able to

say when somebody comes to us

with a critical word to be able to say

i’m so sorry

i didn’t realize that i did this thing

or that i acted in this way or i i i

hurt you in some way

even if at the moment we don’t we’re not

really sure we did anything wrong

but to be able to say you know to maybe

it’s apologized sometimes it’s not

apologizing sometimes that what you did

was exactly the right thing but

but in those cases it’s thank you so

much for helping me hear

how this affected you and and i you know

i want to reflect upon that i want to

pray about that and i really

you know appreciate you taking the time

to tell me it’s amazing the book of

proverbs says a gentle answer turns away

wrath and i found people

really angry about something that i said

or did when i can say you know i really

appreciate you coming to tell me this

and i’m grateful for that and i will

think about this it’s like

the anger goes away now it’s hard to do

that right it’s easier to just get angry

or frustrated back at somebody else but

but there’s an opportunity you know to

to be able to say i’m sorry or thank you

and help me to learn better

to ask clarifying questions and to try

to figure out is this true or not and is

this something

is this an area where i need to improve

as a parent as a spouse as a friend as a

as a worker as a neighbor as a christian

all right but that kind of criticism

isn’t what paul’s talking about in first

thessalonians chapters one and two

like these were people who were who were

impugning his character these were

people who were harassing

uh the followers of jesus trying to get

them to stop following jesus

right so this was born of jealousy often

you know people’s criticism is born of

jealousy

sometimes it’s born of they’re not

liking what they see in you that they

actually see in themselves but they have

a hard time acknowledging uh sometimes

it has to do with our own

you know failing or or weak ego strength

and so we find ourselves you know having

to put you down in order to feel better

about ourselves

usually or oftentimes people are most

critical and most you know

angry in their criticism when they feel

hurt in some way personally which may or

may not be your fault

or maybe when they find their own egos

bruised or perhaps

they’re finding their deeply held

convictions are challenged and that’s

unsettling to them

now most of us have times when we’re

ready to quit in response to criticism

and i guess i want to ask you that

can you think of a time in your life

where somebody was critical and you just

felt like

thrown in the towel as a result you felt

like giving up

because that happens to some of us you

know this last year there was a whole

lot of pastors across the theological

spectrum

so conservative pastors you know

centrist pastors progressive pastors

who found in their congregations was

hard to navigate and we talked about

this a few weeks ago

how to deal with coven you know half the

congregation wanted to be back in

worship the other half didn’t want to be

back in worship the half that wanted to

be back in worship said i’ll only come

back if you’re wearing a mask and

and the other half said i won’t come

back unless you’re not wearing a mask

and

and so you know it just was you know

there was that unsettledness and then

there was of course

you know the the polarization in

politics and so no matter what was said

it would almost feel like

it was you know it was a proxy for

something else and and so

you know my politics you know as an

individual all of us as individuals our

politics were

they were sometimes so strong and we

felt so strongly one way or the other

that we had a hard time listening to

people who were standing in a different

place

and a hard time not getting angry and uh

and so we didn’t want to be around

people who were different from ourselves

and often we would write critical things

or say critical things on facebook pages

or whatever

uh and so you know so there was that and

then of course there was uh there was

what was happening in

our country when it came to uh racism

and

pain and brokenness and and how we were

analyzing that and again once more

you had people you know based upon their

politics we’re seeing things

in a very different way and so so we

found ourselves

you know hurting and pastors found

themselves struggling

trying to figure out what to say and so

some pastors just said

i’m just not going to say anything i

just won’t talk about anything i’m just

going to try to find a way to hunker

down

and to not talk about anything that’s

happening in our world and how the

gospel might relate to that

right even if they had strong

convictions they were just afraid

because

criticism just doesn’t feel good and you

get the letters from people who are

going to leave your church they’re mad

or they’re going to withhold their

giving because

you know you said something that didn’t

line up with their deeply held

convictions

which is really not how the world is

supposed to work but it’s how the world

has been working lately we become we

find ourselves paralyzed

there there’s a a truth that when it

comes to criticism if you try to live

your entire life without being

criticized for anything

well actually it’s often attributed to

aristotle but albert hubbard seems to be

the one who said at the 19th century

writer and philosopher he said the only

way to avoid criticism

is to do nothing to say nothing and to

be nothing

so you know that’s not a way to live but

that is how sometimes we live because we

just don’t want anybody to say anything

that might hurt our feelings

might bruise our you know wound our egos

or you know leave them

turning away from us or rejecting us and

can you imagine if paul had said that

if paul said you know what that was just

so hard when they beat me up in galatia

i’m never going to do this again

right and that would have been the end

of the christian faith but thankfully

that wasn’t the end of the christian

faith because he said you know what

sometimes

you do the right thing and you’re going

to get beat up for it and you got to

keep doing it

i was thinking of uh you know just

really anybody who we would consider a

great leader

in our world they’re all going to tell

the same story

of how hard it was sometimes there have

been multiple polls done of americans to

say you know who was the best president

of the united states

and there are two names that come up at

the top of the list every time there’s

george washington

and abraham lincoln right you would have

guessed that george washington abraham

lincoln the third is

uh is fdr uh franklin delano roosevelt

and you know people to this

day are divided about fdr as to whether

they like them or not but generally

people like george washington

and abraham lincoln so it was

interesting the washington post ran an

article last year

uh that captured an important historical

truth i think was last year

here was the here was the title everyone

loved george washington until he became

president

and and what happened was you know

during the years that he was a president

an increasing number of people began to

have great disdain for the president and

people were you know people have been

very positive and really trying to

get him to become president ended up you

know despising him and ridiculing him

at the end of his presidency this is the

guy that we have rated as the top

president

that we ever had in our country and

thomas paine uh who was a pretty big

critic of many politicians at that time

said said of washington the world will

be puzzled to decide whether you were an

apostate or an imposter

whether you have abandoned good

principles or whether you ever had any

at all

that’s what he said after he left office

and his analysis of george washington’s

presidency who we’ve rated as the top

president

in the history of our country abraham

lincoln he was hated by the south

he was hated by the democrats he was

hated by many of the republicans in his

own party

and ultimately he was assassinated right

i love how abraham lincoln though took

criticism he took it with humor and

humility

so uh when he was debating stephen

douglas at one point stephen douglas

says abraham lincoln is two-faced and

maybe you remember this

lincoln’s response was if i had two

faces do you really think i would wear

this one

now you know he acknowledged in his

responses to his critics that he could

be wrong

he said i may be wrong and if i’m wrong

history will judge me as wrong

but i’m trying to do right as best as i

know and understand now

right and that’s what all of us are

trying to do i’ll just tell you as your

senior pastor

you know every sermon i preach that you

know somebody gets upset about or every

you know i’m trying to do right the best

as i know how

reading scripture praying trying to ask

how does the scripture speak to the

complexities of our world today

and i could be wrong any group that

joins our church almost every coffee

with the pastors i say listen

i want you to bring your brain i don’t

want you to check your brain at the door

when you come to the church i want you

to be able to ask questions i want you

to be able to

to you know to really you know wrestle

with these things i’m not saying i’m

always right i’m just saying i prayed

hard i have two degrees in this stuff

and i’m really trying

to hear what god would say to his people

about what’s going on in the world

and so you know it’s okay to disagree we

don’t have to hurt each other when we do

if you look at the at the scriptures by

the way abraham lincoln practice what uh

first peter says in first peter 3 9

don’t pay back evil for evil or insult

for insult

instead give blessing in return

i love that that’s just a basic way of

living your life don’t don’t get even

don’t

don’t provoke back don’t get nasty when

somebody’s nasty with you

because that doesn’t work but if you

bless them instead if you try to be kind

to them

paul says quoting from the old testament

it’s like pouring heaping coals upon

their head they feel shame because

you responded with kindness to their

unkindness and their

you know their insensitivity and that’s

what

living the gospel looks like paul would

teach his followers i think about you

know all of the folks in scripture

that we find every one of those leading

figures in scripture

were criticized by people there were

folks who didn’t like them doesn’t

matter

who you’re talking about every one of

them found that they were

you know harassed and criticized and so

you know you have moses who leads the

children of israel to slavery you know

out of slavery in egypt we talked about

this a few weeks ago

what do they do they want to kill him

and elect another leader and go back to

egypt because they don’t like the food

he’s providing for them

and elijah we’ve talked about him you

know the great prophet and he’s

preaching and teaching and yet you know

he’s teaching against the prophets that

had been

you know the prophets of baal in the

land and pretty soon the king and queen

want to kill him and he has to flee in

the wilderness by himself and he prays

both moses and elijah prayed

god please take my life i don’t want to

live anymore

that’s what it can feel like when people

are being critical of you

like it doesn’t matter what you know

what we’re talking about whether it’s a

parent and your kids are telling you

you’re the meanest parent in the world i

hate you

right or your spouse saying you know

what i just can’t hardly stand living

with you anymore you’re just

or at work or you know this is just

part of life because sometimes criticism

comes

by the way i think about our daughter

rebecca who was the most vocal in

you know occasionally letting me know i

was the meanest dad in the world

and uh and today as an adult she’s like

dad i’m so sorry

you know i’m so sorry i’m really nervous

about having kids myself someday because

i know i’m going to get it back what i

gave

and and so somewhere along the way we

come to the place where we go you know

what

maybe my mom or dad were right or maybe

that other person had something you know

i needed to listen to or maybe

i mean you get the idea john wesley the

founder of methodism wherever he

preached there were people who harassed

him they

you know this some of you know this they

brought rocks and they would throw it

while he was preaching from the you know

from the town square

or or rotten eggs or rotten tomatoes

they would pummel him one time there

were people who brought a whole load of

manure while he was preaching they snuck

up behind him and poured a whole sack of

manure on his head

at one time he was taking a nap on a

sunday afternoon after he’d been

preaching in the morning before he

preached in the evening somebody lit the

house on fire where he was at

almost every major newspaper in england

had lampooned him on the front page of

their newspapers

but he didn’t quit he just kept going

and going i think of you know

mother teresa now saint teresa of

calcutta search the web you’re going to

find plenty of criticism about her dr

king

you know there were people who hated him

in his life bigots and others who hated

him but but there were also people some

in his own denomination a black baptist

denomination

who didn’t really like what he was

saying or what he was doing or how he

was approaching things he was

often roundly criticized billy graham

the saint of evangelical protestantism

but if you search the web you’re going

to find there are lots of conservative

christians

who didn’t think he was conservative

enough and really thought he’d lost his

mind and his soul when he started

working with catholics and when he said

that they were going to have to you know

he would integrate his crusade so black

and white could worship

together at his crusades

so no matter where you go you’re going

to find there are no people out there

who are only receiving positive reviews

and no negative reviews and if that’s

true of all of these saints in the bible

and it’s true of all of these great

leading figures including the you know

great presidents of the united states

it’s going to be true for you too there

are going to be times that people

be critical and the question is what

will you do about that

do you give up do you fold hopefully you

learn if there’s something valuable

you’re always asking god is there

something i need to learn how can i grow

from this

but you don’t give up that’s why paul

wrote first thessalonians because they

refuse to give up that’s why the

churches

you know and the christians all across

you know what is modern day greece we’re

we’re thinking the

the thessalonians were amazing

christians because it wasn’t for

any remarkable thing they’d done in the

four months they had been a church it

was the fact that they had refused to

give up

in the face of opposition i remind you

what jesus said in the sermon on the

mount blessed are you when people revile

you and persecute you and utter all

kinds of evil against you falsely on my

account

rejoice and be glad for your reward is

great in heaven for in the same way they

persecuted the prophets who were before

you

over the last 31 years you know there

have been just plenty of times where

there have been letters that came

sometimes anonymous

now it’s more social media and you know

posts and those kind of things and and

you know it doesn’t matter that you get

100 really great ones the thing you

focus on is the one mean one or the one

hurtful one or the one that you know is

hyper critical and

and uh and you know there are times i

think i had three or four in the last

two weeks

and uh and when you get and mostly i get

really positive affirmations i’m not

looking for affirmation from you i get

plenty of that i just

here’s what i want you to know there are

moments where i get these things and i

just go i’ve told lavon last week i said

you know what

the thing i will most look forward to

i’m gonna i’m gonna regret a million

things you know just dread retiring

someday ten years from now whenever i

retire

i’m gonna miss a million things you know

what i will not miss is the criticism

and the people who leave the church over

something or the people who are

you know nasty and send you anonymous

things i just am not going to miss that

at all

but here’s the thing i’m not going to

give up because of it

i’m going to try to learn i’m going to

try to figure out how can i be better

but

but i’m not going to throw in the towel

because you’re throwing the towel

and you missed out on life and you can’t

just be silent you know and never say

anything or do anything or be anything

if you want to make a difference in the

world and live for jesus

all right so here’s the word from first

thessalonians 1 and 2 that i think we

need to remember

is don’t give up you’re not perfect i’m

not perfect i’m going to mess up a

million times i need that criticism to

keep growing

and i’m not going to give up in the face

of criticism i want to keep going

and i want you to do the same thing and

let me just say this

i don’t get that much criticism three

three or four the last couple of weeks i

mean i get

so many a year and it’s okay like you

know at the age of 56

it really doesn’t bother me so much but

i do try to learn from it when i was 30

it was really hard but

paul’s modeling for us and teaching us

don’t give up all right so uh

the last thing i want to say about this

is that you know it’s not just that

there are other people out there

who are you know mean-spirited people

who are critic you know critical

we are those people like this is also an

invitation for us to say when have i

been critical of other people when i

really shouldn’t have when

when did i not show them grace when i

when i was really mad at somebody

because

i saw something in them i don’t like in

myself when was it that i spoke up you

know like i had all the answers when i

really didn’t have all the answers and i

had no idea what that person was going

through

when have i shared my opinion what i

really didn’t need to and i would have

been wiser to keep it to myself

when did i treat others in a way that i

don’t want to be treated

and the truth is we have all done that

too

which is why jesus had to say to his

disciples at the end of the sermon on

the mount

don’t judge so that you won’t be judged

you’ll receive the same judgment you

give

whatever you deal out will be dealt out

to you why do you see the splinter

that’s in your brothers or sister’s eye

but don’t notice the log in your own eye

right i know i’m going to be judged in

the same way that i judge

i’m going to be really careful to show

an awful lot of grace because i know i

need

an awful lot of grace

and that leads me to end with this

statement it’s a it’s a part of a much

longer

not even a homily it was a speech that

that theodore roosevelt was giving in

1910 he was in paris it was april 23rd

1910

he was no longer president united states

and uh and he gives a speech really

great speech but the part that everybody

remembers

and you undoubtedly have heard this

before i shared it in a sermon a number

of years ago

it is a part that talks about the man in

the arena

listen to these words it’s not the

critic who counts not the man who points

out how the strong man stumbles or where

the doer of deeds could have done them

better

the credit belongs to the man who’s

actually in the arena whose face is

marred by dust

and sweat and blood who strives

valiantly

who airs and comes short again and again

because there is no effort without error

and shortcoming

but who does actually strive to do the

deeds who knows the great enthusiasms

the great devotions who spends himself

in a worthy cause

who at the best knows in the end the

triumph of high achievement and who at

the worst if he fails

at least fails while daring greatly so

that his place shall never be with these

cold and timid souls

who know neither victory nor defeat

here’s the word i want us to remember

from from first thessalonians chapters

one and two

don’t give up don’t give up it’s how you

face criticism and keep going

that paul points out for the

thessalonians was a mark of remarkable

discipleship

and will be for you too everyone is

criticized

there are no perfect washers and dryers

there are no perfect husbands

wives parents children fellow co-workers

bosses or employees neighbors or

christians

don’t give up don’t give up

don’t give up let’s pray

god how profoundly grateful we are to

you for your love for us

for your mercy and grace when we fail

and we do over and over and over again

there’s not a person listening to this

message

that hasn’t failed in a million ways and

yet we keep getting back up and you

raise us back up and you show us mercy

and grace

and then you use all of the places we’ve

fallen

to perfect us to make us the people you

want us to be

lord you know that there are people

listening to this message right now that

feel like giving up on their marriage

giving up as parents giving up as

children giving up is giving up on life

giving up on their jobs giving up on

their ministry on the ways that they

serve

you know oh god what it’s like for us to

be criticized jesus you know

well what it’s like to be criticized

so renew our strength we pray help us to

keep our eyes on you help us not be

afraid to speak up and speak out even

though we know

we’ll garner criticism help us to be the

people you want us to be

help us to be those in the arena

in jesus name amen

thank you for watching this week’s

sermon we’d love for you to join us

again

online or live in worship to learn more

about church of the resurrection please

visit core.org

have a great week

[Music]

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